Ivy Hurst and Stevi Hillman
By Katie Lackey
Hurst Hits A Few Hurdles but Remains Positive
Ivy Hurst, of Springer, Okla., had some decisions to make before the Days of ’47 Rodeo when her main horse, HOF, came up lame.
“The key thing for me was that I got into the rodeo at Salt Lake City,” Hurst said. “I had no choice but to keep fighting and play the cards I was dealt.”
Hurst’s hand of cards though had a few surprises in it. She had recently purchased a mare, French Fortunes, just before her gelding turned up lame.
“I never had the intentions of using her when I got her out here [on the road],” Hurst said. “I had planned to just ride her in my down time and mold her into what I wanted. Unfortunately, she was thrown to the wolves right out of the gates. It may have been a blessing in disguise because she has stepped up as we go.”
French Fortunes did step up. She won the rodeo at Sheridan, Wyo., which was her debut onto the rodeo scene. Even with the new-found confidence in her mare, Hurst struggled throughout the week between lameness issues and attempting to synchronize with a new horse.
As the week came to a close, Hurst set her sights on preparing for Salt Lake City, Utah.
“With my horse being out, it was quite a bit more stressful,” Hurst said. “I did get back on HOF, and we hadn’t made a run in over 10 days at that point. So both him and I were out of sync.”
Hurst’s decision to stay out on the road for the Days of ’47 Rodeo did payoff as she won fourth place in her semifinals behind Hailey Kinsel and Kelly Tovar, who went on to win the gold and silver medal.
“For him to win fourth that night was pretty phenomenal,” Hurst said. “It was not our best work, but he did as well as he could. I was really happy with it.”
Hurst and her team of horses enjoyed a week of rest in Salt Lake City after their run. Hurst will be back on her mare at Burwell, Neb. They took Sunday off to rest before a busy week of rodeos Monday through Friday all across Kansas. She got back on HOF for the first time at Hill City, Kan., and they won the rodeo with a time of 16.84 seconds. After her week in Kansas, she will head back home for the first time since mid-June.
Hurst said: “It started out as one the better [summer] runs I have ever had. I feel like I have the best horses I have ever had. It’s been really enjoyable hauling with Stevi Hillman and having lots of positive energy in the truck. Unfortunately, because of lameness that really shut me down until the end of the summer.”
Through the trials and setbacks, Hurst has not lost sight of her future goals. The NFR may not be an option this year, but by next year it could become a reality for her.
“I am on fire about it right now,” Hurst said. “I have never been more driven to want it. I am on it. I am ready for it.”
On the Road with Ivy Hurst
Katie Lackey, a member of the Northwestern Oklahoma State University rodeo team, is getting some road experience this summer with WPRA Barrel Racer Ivy Hurst. Hurst of Springer, Okla., is seasoning her 10-year old gelding Hall of Famer to the rodeo road while looking to gain enough money in the Prairie Circuit to qualify for the Circuit Finals. She is also hoping to get enough money to punch her ticket to the All-American Finals in Waco, Texas, in October.
Photo Courtesy: Katie Lackey
Lackey is taking us on the ride with the duo this summer. Stay tuned for more updates from the road.
June 28, 2017
Her summer run started off as well as anyone could hope.
Ivy Hurst was in the money at Springdale, Ark., and left Pecos, Texas in the lead on Thursday night, but by Friday morning her momentum slowed down. Hurst found herself stranded on the side of the road in the middle of New Mexico.
“I thought I left home prepared, but it was hot and we had a blowout on the trailer,” Hurst said. “Thankfully, it was an easy one, and it didn’t harm the trailer, but I noticed the brand new spare tire was flat. We were blessed with some really nice guys that happened to stop at the right time with an air compressor that got us back on the road.”
Photo Courtesy: Katie Lackey
Hurst has been making a living as a professional barrel racer since 2012, so she knows about life on the road. Although, she does more than just compete, Hurst is a horse broker for high-end barrel horses and a trainer as well.
Hurst said: “I actually worked as dental assistant for years before I became fully into the [horse business]. I tried to do this on the side, but it was extremely difficult to do both. The schedules just didn’t lineup and being able to get time off was virtually impossible. My sister was always doing this before me, so it was a dream. I didn’t know that I was going to pull it off.”
And pull it off she has. Especially with the help of a horse called Hall of Famer, a 10-year-old gelding by Dash to Fame.
“I was able to purchase him last November from Sarah Zaleski, who trained him,” Hurst said. “He was a successful futurity horse, and I have just had my eye on him ever since.”
Hurst won her first professional rodeo of the year, running HOF at Ponca City, Okla.
“I was having a great weekend, and [that win] meant a lot,” Hurst said. “I am trying to make circuit finals so that [win] just helped keep me in there.”
Every win helps get Hurst closer to her goals. For now, her No. 1 priority on the road is to qualify for circuit finals, as well as the All-American finals.
“I would like to win enough money to get into all the winter rodeos next year, and the NFR, of course, would be a dream come true,” Hurst said.
This past week on the road Hurst cleared her biggest paycheck at Pecos, Texas winning $3,656 even though she was bumped to second place. She also pulled a little over $1,600 with a fourth-place finish at Springdale. She ran into tough luck at Santa Fe, N.M., where she hit the third barrel, but went on to have a clean run in Colorado Springs, Colo., and advance to the next round of the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo schedule for the week of July 12-15.
Hurst usually travels alone, but having Stevi Hillman in the rig with her has proved beneficial.
“Stevi is such a positive person, and we feed off each other,” Hurst said. “It helps because she is winning, which makes me want it that much more."
Road Tips by Hurst
10 Must-haves in the rig
- shoeing supplies
- vet box
- impact gun
- full set of horseshoes shaped and ready
July 6, 2017
Ivy Hurst gained a new confidence in her gelding, HOF, after he successfully handled numerous different arena setups over the Fourth of July run.
Hurst arrived in Greeley, Colo., early on June 27 to do some slow work before her run the next day.
“Greeley is a very tough arena because of the setup to the first barrel, and the ground is very hard,” Hurst said. “I feel like you have to ride differently there.
She ended up hitting the third barrel, which she claimed as a jockey error.
By June 29, Hurst, accompanied by Stevi Hillman, arrived in Oakley, Utah.
“That ground was complete opposite from Greeley,” Hurst said. “It was very deep. I had to ride harder, and again, I was really happy with how my horse worked. I showed up, did my job and so we got a paycheck out of that one.”
From there, the duo headed up to Bozeman, Mont., to give the horses some much needed rest. The stay was short-lived though as they headed to Red Lodge, Mont., on the morning of July 2.
Hurst said: “They have tried really hard to improve the ground [at Red Lodge]. They over watered it that morning, but then Brian Anderson, from Copper Springs Ranch, did a really great job of holding the slack up until they got the ground better. Unfortunately, it came a rainstorm about the time Stevi and I ran.”
Hillman was able to pull a fourth place check there. Hurst hit another barrel.
After the morning slack, Hurst and Hillman were looking forward to the Livingston, Mont., performance that same day.
“It was a great rodeo, great setup and great ground,” Hurst said. “I think my horse was just a little tired. We didn’t have our best performance.”
Hillman won Livingston, while Hurst just wasn’t fast enough.
After some tough luck for Hurst, she was still determined to finish her Fourth of July run out strong. The next destination was Belle Fourche, S.D.
Hurst was sure to arrive in time to work her horse in the arena. She also decided to change her horse’s bit.
The last minute switch paid off. Hurst split fourth place.
“We made a really great run that night,” Hurst said. “It was a great setup with super fast ground.”
The week was finished off with an all-night drive to Cody, Wyo., on July 4.
“I don’t feel like it affected my horse as much as it did me,” Hurst said. “He was there and ready. I didn’t ride as sharp as I should have.”
After experiencing an array of different arenas in such a short amount of time, Hurst was pleased with how her 10-year-old gelding handled them all.
“He’s actually done way better than I thought with some of the funky setups,” Hurst said. “He’s handled every sort of ground I have thrown at him. There’s not anything I have found right now that he isn’t taking.